Report: Documented proof of Qaddafi war crimes

A rebel walks next to a cartoon depicting Moammar Gadhafi as Adolf Hitler, holding a book titled "My Green Book," in the rebel Media Center in Benghazi, Libya, Monday, May 16, 2011. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, announced Monday that he would seek arrest warrants against the leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and the country's intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

A rebel walks next to a cartoon depicting Muammar Qaddafi as Adolf Hitler, holding a book titled "My Green Book," in the rebel Media Center in Benghazi, Libya, Monday, May 16, 2011.
AP Photo

Updated Sunday June 19 7:21 a.m. ET

United Nations investigators have have long accused Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and his security forces of war crimes, but now Libya's rebels claim to have written proof.

Thousands of documents are supposedly being kept safely hidden in the besieged port city of Misrata which, among other things, allegedly contain written orders to bombard and starve the people of that city, The Guardian reports.

Among the many damning items contained in the documents, the worst might be an alleged message from Qaddafi himself, which investigators claim orders his troops to obliterate Misrata and have the "blue sea turned red" with the blood of its inhabitants.

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Another document reportedly contains an order from Youssef Ahmed Basheer Abu Hajar, one of Qaddafi's generals, stating: "It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints." Another reportedly documents instructions for army units to hunt down wounded rebel fighters, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.

At the beginning of June, a three-member panel of U.N. investigators said they have received estimates of 10,000-15,000 people killed since February, and added there is evidence that opposition forces also committed "some acts which would constitute war crimes."

The three-member panel based its finds on interviews with 350 people in government and rebel-held parts of Libya, as well as in refugee camps in neighboring countries.

In mid-May a prosecutor requested the International Criminal Court at The Hague issue an arrest warrant for Qaddafi over alleged war crimes. It is unclear whether the new documents can be used in any criminal proceedings against the Libyan leader, or whether Qaddafi would ever submit to a trial at the ICC, which is not recognized by several nations (including the U.S. and China).

Editor's note: The International Criminal Court at The Hague was asked to issue an arrest warrant for Qaddafi; it has not done so.

  • Joshua Norman

    Joshua Norman is a Senior Editor at CBSNews.com.

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